Monday, April 29, 2013

CIA hosts event for LGBT people, reported a gay-friendly workplace now, despite past history

In its April 25, 2013 issue, Metro Weekly, in a story by Ernesto M. Santalla, reports that the CIA is hosting a GLBT Information and Networking Event on Monday, April 29, 2013, with story link here
The article recounts the case of Tracey Ballard, who came out while working for the CIA in 1989 and kept her job, after a US Appeals Court found that the CIA had routinely denied LGBT employees security clearances.  In 1995, President Clinton signed an Executive Order ending discrimination in granting security clearances in all settings.
Since the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for military personnel was in place at the time, the situation created an anomaly.  The CIA preferred that gay civilian employees be “out” because now it was safer – countering the old McCarthy era canard that gays were susceptible for blackmail.  What would happen with a same-sex coup-le where one was active duty military, the other was a civilian CIA employee, and both happened to work on the same classified international issue?
I actually tried to create that setting in one of my early screenplays (“Make the A-List”, 2002).
Some CIA employment is of a “military” nature when connected to overseas stations and may involve combat capabilities.  But most jobs are related to computer and Internet-based analysis at home, although (as in “Zero Dark Thirty”) in rare cases CIA agents may travel with military people.  But this sort of situation is very infrequent.
I was processed for a Top Secret clearance when I was employed as a civilian programmer by the Navy (NAVCOSSACT) in 1972, and the outcome was ambiguous, given my William and Mary expulsion (1961) and “psychiatric” treatment at NIH (1962).  I already had a Secret clearance.  I decided to leave anyway, and went to work for Univac in New Jersey in the fall of 1972, starting a new period in my life.

When I was in the Army, I was processed successfully for a Secret clearance while I was in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, SC in 1968.  When I was assigned to the Pentagon in the summer after Basic (with MOS “01E20”, Mathematician), I was processed tor Top Secret.  Suddenly, in September, I was mysteriously transferred to Fort Eustis (Newport News, VA, ironically ten miles from William and Mary).  I was reprocessed there for a Secret without incident, except that I had an innocuous interview with an Army psychiatrist who had nothing really to say and wondered why he was asked to interview me.  

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